Mumbai’s Uno Más relaunches in Goa offering sangria, sunshine and Spanish tapas.
On the first anniversary of Uno Más, in Mumbai’s bustling-by-day, quiet-by-night BKC, there was a flamenco dancer. Swathed in red and black, her feet and hips swayed to a rhythm and we watched mesmerised, hands frozen around cocktail glasses and stranded over patatas bravas. It was just part of what Uno Mas promised, an exciting evening of Spanish tapas and entertainment.
This December, Priyanka Sharma and Pallavi Jaiswal bring that same promise to Goa.
After a pandemic-induced shut down, Uno Más has now found a new home: in The Living Room Hotel in Vagator. This space dazzles with sunlight. There’s an outdoor shaded section, and indoor seating (one part of which looks out onto the pool). An open bar is right in the centre, offering the best seating — a commanding view of the whole restaurant, and proximity to the entertainment corner. Unlike many other places that promise seats at the bar, here, the chairs are comfortable and at a good height and there’s enough space for plates and glasses.
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On Sunday we visit, Uno Más is empty. After a few days of evening festivities after the launch, they’ve just opened for lunch (brunch actually). There’s no flamenco dancer but there’s a saxophonist, whose instruments provides harmonious accompaniment to a DJ’s music.
We settle at the bar, which is stocked with local spirits and international ones. Below our feet, the flooring is exposed brick, and the grey of the exposed walls contrasts against the peeling colours of existing columns. The walls have nooks to hold statues of bulls and a flamenco dancer. Two woven bull heads peer benignly over the bar.
The bar crew is new, and eager to serve. The signature cocktail is Nacional, which is presented uber aesthetically but quite simplistically and has lovely tropical vibes. It’s a nice sipping cocktail with apricot liqueur, pineapple juice and rum. Another favourite is Shroom, which is an exciting take on the whiskey sour, decorated with some beetroot powder. There’s a hint of truffle that makes its presence felt first, before yielding to the maltiness of the whiskey. The white wine sangria (Sangria Blanca) is pleasant, but doesn’t quite match up to the signature drinks. There’s a short mocktail selection, too, which impresses friends of ours who are teetotallers.
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Apropos of being a tapas bar, Uno Más excels at its small plates. Their Patatas Bravas are smashed potatoes, which still retain their crispy skin, offering a nice contrast to the mushy tomato-ey salsa. Now, Gambal Al Ajillo may have become a popular entrée in restaurants, but its simple flavours rarely disappoint. Uno Más’ version has plump prawns married with garlic and soaking in a bed of herbed prawn head oil. The oil pairs well with the breads in our sharing platter or Table de Panes: focaccia (a little dense), poee covered in bran, lavash and bread sticks. It’s a Mediterranean platter with creamy hummus and a piquant muttabal.
Tabla Mixta, offering an assortment of quality cheese and cured meats, is good for nibbling in between drinks. Pescado Mantequilla allows the garlic butter combination to shine, bathing a fillet of perfectly cooked chonak. We like this version of one of our favourite fishes, which we typically eat coated in rava!
There’s a 20-minute wait for the paella, which is cooked to order and served in a paella pan. It’s a large portion of food, making it ideal for bigger groups. The pan has a layer of saffron rice, studded with prawns, squid, clams and chonak. It is flavourful, though the fish is unevenly cooked and it lacks the soccarat (crusty layer at the bottom) we’ve come to love in paella.
The meal is rounded off with Crème Brûlée, a dish that looks as good as it tastes. A crack through the wafer-thin caramelised sugar crust reveals a creamy inside (the custard has been taken just a hint too far), with a vibrant citrus touch.
As the afternoon deepens, the saxophonist brings out peppier tunes. We can imagine Sunday brunches here, with people whirling around on the floor, stopping for a nibble or to sip on sangria or maybe a flamenco dancer putting on a mesmerising show. She deserves an encore, as does Uno Más.
Uno Más, Living Room Hotel, Ground Floor, Vagator Beach Road. Open 7pm onwards.